New Cat Introductions

By | Cats | No Comments

beautiful small kittenCats make wonderful companions and adopting a new one is an exciting thing. However, if you already have a cat in the house, the excitement can quickly turn to frustration. Not all animals get along right away and that includes cats. Cats can be territorial, skittish, and may not take kindly to you bringing home another cat.

When you bring home a new cat, it’s important to consider how your current cat may feel. Never assume that just because your current feline companion is generally laid back he or she will just “go with the flow.” You may be surprised. You need to be prepared for any reaction.

A good way to go about new cat introductions is to avoid direct, face-to-face interactions for a little while. You want your cats to have time to adjust to a lot of things before meeting.

Smell: Smells have a significant impact on cats; they mark their territories with their scents in many ways—rubbing, sleeping, pawing, urinating, etc. So, a good method for allowing cats to get familiar without incidents is to allow them time to smell. Put the new cat in an area where your current cat sleeps, or eats, etc. Place your current cat in a room with the new cat’s carrier, or bedding. Give them time to smell and become comfortable.

Sight: Once you feel comfortable taking another step in the new cat introduction process, you can try placing the cats near one another, but not so close that they can get to one another if they get angry. Try putting the cats in two separate rooms that are connected by a door. In the door way, place a screen through which the cats can see, but not move. This way, they can see, hear, and smell one another, but not fight.

Eat: If the cats show any antagonism toward each other, keep them separated by the screen for a while. During this time, feed the cats at the same time. Start by placing the food bowls some distance from the screen, but where they can still see one another while they eat. Over time, move the bowls closer. After a while, you may find that they can approach one another from opposite sides of the screen and eat without fighting.

New cat introductions take time. Have patience, keep trying, and you will eventually have two cats that can live together. They may even become close. If you find the process very difficult, seek the advice of your vet, or possibly an animal behaviorist. Don’t forget to bring your cats in for checkups at Pet Vet Hospital.

Be Ready with Your Pets This Hurricane Season

By | Pet Care | No Comments

man saves his dog from a floodWith the arrival of Tropical Storm Cindy comes a reminder of the dangers that a yearly hurricane season brings. Though this season began on June 1st, it is never too soon to begin planning for this time each year, particularly if you live near the coast.

Things can occur suddenly. As you prepare yourself, your home, and other details, consider your pets. They should be a part of your plans to evacuate, or stay inside and wait out the storm. Make sure you have all travel necessities ready. If your pet needs a crate or carrier, keep it where you have easy access in a hurry. Purchase some extra pet food and other items. You can even plan for how you will pack your car so that you can do it fast.

Make sure that all vaccinations are up-to-date, as well as any other health-related details. If you have to board your pet, or you have to stay in a hotel, you will probably need evidence of your pet’s vaccines. Plus, terrible storms can cause all sorts of unexpected circumstances, like sudden separation. If you lose your pet, you want to be able to find him or her again easily. So, make sure that your pets are microchipped. Keep ID tags on your pet, or within easy reach, too.

At Pet Vet Hospitals, we cannot stress the importance of taking these precautions enough. Because of this, we are offering a discount of $5 off our microchipping procedure. All you need to do is make an appointment and mention this blog when you do so.  Pet Vet Hospitals also offers certificates as evidence of your pet’s vaccinations; these should be kept on hand with other vital information in case you need them.

Stay safe this hurricane season.

Potential Canine Flu Outbreak Means It’s Time for Vaccinations

By | Pet Care | No Comments

Vet using technologyAt Pet Vet Animal Hospitals, we know you trust us to protect your pets and we take that responsibility very seriously. As such, we feel it necessary to make you, the local dog community and dog lovers, aware of a potential life threatening, yet preventable, virus threatening your pet in our area.

During the past few years there have been outbreaks of a severe new flu virus in dogs called Canine Influenza Virus (CIV). To date, the outbreaks have primarily been in Chicago and the South East United States, including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Louisiana, with North Carolina recording two deaths.  This virus is migrating west–toward us.

The Houston area has had two confirmed cases of CIV in the past month.  While this does not constitute an epidemic, it is serious enough that our doctors want to address the issue before it becomes one.

This virus is especially dangerous because a sick dog can be contagious for up to four days before showing symptoms. Twenty percent of infected dogs show no symptoms at all, but can still spread the virus to others for up to a month. Simply avoiding other dogs that appear sick does not offer any protection from this virus.

Symptoms of CIV can be high fever, coughing, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge, lethargy, and loss of appetite. There are two strains of the disease: H3N8 and H3N2. Depending on the strain a dog contracts, it may need to be treated and isolated up to four weeks. The mortality rate is below 10%.

Prevention is the best way to avoid an epidemic in our community.  There is now a vaccination that is available to protect dogs from both the H3N8 and the H3N2 strains of CIV. An initial vaccine is followed in three weeks by a second booster. Both are required for proper immunity. Pet Vet Animal Hospitals and the manufacturer of the vaccine are confident of its efficacy.  Should a dog contract the virus after proper vaccination, the manufacture will cover treatment at no charge to our clients.

Ideally, all dogs should be vaccinated against CIV, however, some dogs are at a higher risk.  Pet Vet feels that it is imperative these “High Risk Dogs” be properly protected by the vaccine.

Your dog is at High Risk if they go to:

  • Day Care
  • Boarding
  • Grooming
  • Dog Parks
  • Dog Shows
  • Dog Friendly Shops and Hotels
  • Anywhere large numbers of other dogs gather.

Just as in humans’ cases, older dogs and dogs with chronic diseases should also be vaccinated since they cannot fight off the effects of the disease. Many boarding facilities now require vaccination against CIV to be admitted.  This is especially important if your family is considering boarding your dog while on a summer vacation. Keep in mind that you have to wait three weeks from the first vaccination until you receive the booster vaccine for full protection.  Plan ahead.

Bottom line, no one can predict if Houston will have an outbreak or an epidemic.  Thankfully, we have not so far, but we cannot predict if or when our luck might run out. It is everyone’s responsibility to protect our pets and the pet-loving community we share. The best way to do this is to prevent the spread of this dangerous virus simply by vaccinating your dog as soon as possible.  If you have any questions regarding CIV, vaccination protocol, or you would like to make an appointment, please call us today at (281) 879-PETS.  Pet Vet Hospitals is here to protect and care for your pets!

Update – 7-28-17

New Canine Influenza Cases Identified in Southeast Harris County

An outbreak of canine influenza has been reported in Webster, Texas, located southeast of Houston. Five cases have been confirmed so far, with an additional five suspected cases awaiting laboratory confirmation.  Another 60 dogs that were exposed to the confirmed cases have presented with clinical signs of canine influenza.

TVMA is gathering additional information about the outbreak and will provide updates as that information becomes available. To obtain the latest information on confirmed cases of canine influenza, please visit Cornell University’s Canine Influenza Virus Surveillance Network’s website at: https://ahdc.vet.cornell.edu/news/civchicago.cfm

For your clients interested in obtaining information regarding canine influenza, please visit:  https://www.texvetpets.org/article/how-to-protect-your-dog-from-canine-influenza/

Fostering a Pet

By | Pet Care | No Comments

dogs people connection adoptionIf you’re an animal lover with a strong need to care for pets, you may have considered fostering them. Becoming a foster parent to a pet is a wonderful and challenging undertaking. Pet fostering exists because there are simply more pets than there are homes and shelters are overflowing. Foster parents give pets a temporary home, with all the comforts and care, until a forever home can be found.

Though the home is meant to be temporary, it’s important to understand a few things before fostering.

Fostering a pet is a real commitment. Because there is always a shortage of permanent homes for pets, you never know how long you may end up having the pet in your foster home. You have to be ready for anything, including a pet that is not adopted. In a few cases, you can get financial help with care if you foster as part of a shelter, group, or system. Most of the time, however, you are required to handle those details for whatever length of time the pet is with you.

You need to be emotionally ready to foster a pet. Some people are perfectly happy with the system; they love the animals while they have them in care, and are equally happy to see them placed with a loving family. In other cases, fosters end up adopting one or more animals because they become attached, which is not necessarily a bad thing. They may even continue fostering other animals after adopting. For others, however, they quickly realize that fostering is not for them. Letting go of the animals that come into the home is simply too difficult for them.

Whatever your reasons for opening your home to foster animals, it’s a worthy consideration. You may discover that it’s your calling, or that you simply need a pet in your life. Either way, you’re helping creatures that need you. Whether you’re a fostering a pet, or you own one, bring your furry friend to Pet Vet Hospitals for all the healthcare you’ll need.

The DIY Cat Bed

By | Cats | No Comments

cat, cats, petsCat beds and towers are great for creating a space that is all about your kitty. They can be expensive, however. And, more of than not it seems as though your cat always prefers the box in which it came. So, what are you to do?

Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on cat beds and towers. Go the DIY route and make something yourself.

First assess what your cat wants.

Well, assess as best you can. Pay attention to where your cat likes to relax. Does he or she hang out in high places? Does he lounge on the cool, hard floor? Does she just love those cardboard boxes that seem too small? These things will help you decide what sort of DIY cat bed your kitty might like best.

Go in search of a plan.

There are simply too many DIY cat projects to count. That’s good for you, however, because that means that you have options. Just do some searching. If you know that you need to use something very soft, then you know to search for plush DIY cat beds. If your cat likes some height, then a raised bed is best, or perhaps even a cat tree made of beds.

Gather the materials.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on materials. DIY projects are made of easy-to-find-and-afford things for a reason. In most cases, you can find what you need cheaply at a nearby store. In other cases, you might even have what you need lying around your home, or a friend may be willing to give you some materials.

The possibilities for your cat’s new favorite sleeping spot are endless. Build something you love from the internet, or get creative and put together your own, unique version. Or, if you are a long-time DIY person, make your own project and put it up online for others.

When you go to this effort to build something for your cat, it’s an extra step that shows how much you care. We care for your pet, too, at Pet Vet Hospitals. Come to us for help with your cat’s health.

The DIY Doghouse

By | Dogs | No Comments

Dog in doghouseSo, you want a doghouse, but the one you want is too expensive, or it’s ugly, or it doesn’t come with the features you want. Fortunately, the DIY lifestyle is gaining traction, and plenty of pet owners have discovered ways to make that perfect doghouse yourself with very little fuss.

The Parts and Labor

Whatever materials you want to use, they can be found. If you want to make a classic house out of wood, that is easily found at your local craft or home improvement store. You can’t cut the wood to the size that suits your needs? You can have that done there, too. Or, you may be able to find the pieces already in the right sizes. If you want something more tent-like, PVC pipe, some waterproof fabric, and some sewing is all you need. If you have the imagination, or some help from the world of DIY instructions, there’s nothing stopping you from making your doghouse.

The Projects

Take a look at this project, here. This plan is a simple one and you don’t have to do the woodcutting yourself, but it still offers your dog plenty of attractive protection. You can exchange some of the materials for something you like better, or something cheaper, if you want. And, of course, you can do it in various colors, too. And, most importantly, it won’t cost you a bundle.

Do you like the idea of a tent structure that you can break down and take with you? There’s a DIY project for that, too. All you need is the right pipe and waterproof fabric, like tarp. The pipes can be glued together, or, if you want something you can break down, you can add some non-slip grip at the ends to prevent it coming apart without some effort.

DIY projects are not for everyone, it’s true. However, many say they’re good for the mind and the hands. Find some help on the internet and build the doghouse of your pet’s dreams. For help with your pet’s health, come to Pet Vet Hospitals.

A Pet’s Never-Ending Ear Infection

By | Pet Care | No Comments

Do you have a pet that is prone to ear infections (like a basset hound or cocker spaniel)? Ear infections are some of the most common ailments that veterinarians see. Chronic ear infections (chronic otitis) are also common, and many a pet owner has spent years battling them for the sake of his or her friend. Sometimes, it just seems as though it is just your pet’s never-ending ear infection.

What can you do? The first thing is obvious: see your vet. Your vet understands ear infections and will find out what type of infection your pet is experiencing. Sometimes, you may be surprised, and the infection can be cleared up with a thorough round or two of treatment.

Other times, it’s not quite so simple. Many pet owners, particularly dog owners, have complained that rounds of antibiotics in combination with other treatments simply haven’t eliminated the problem. Some say their pet’s problem always returns in a matter of weeks, or even days.

So, what’s to be done?

Start by not giving up on your vet. Your vet understands your frustration. Together, you can discuss alternate treatments, or find out if there is a surgical option. If not, your vet will help you develop a long-term treatment plan. This methodical plan may include regular ear flushing to prevent buildup, drops that are safe to use in the long-term, and regular vet visits to make sure that the never-ending problem isn’t causing serious damage. Your vet can prescribe special flushes and medications that you cannot get over the counter; these will likely work far better than what you get at your local pet store.

It’s important to take this route because, though chronic infections can be managed, even when they start to seem “normal,” that doesn’t mean they won’t hurt your pet’s hearing and health in the long-term. Don’t try to tackle your pet’s never-ending ear infection on your own. Talk to a vet. Come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals.

Pets and Lyme Disease: The Basics

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

cat-71494_1280You have probably heard of it in humans, but may not realize it happens to pets, too. That is unfortunate, because Lyme Disease is one of the most common illnesses for pets—particularly dogs—and it’s transmitted by ticks. Why don’t you know more about it? Hopefully, it’s because you take the necessary precautions and see your vet frequently enough to avoid it. However, the fact is that it’s a real problem and it’s easy to miss because many pets don’t show symptoms.

This disease is caused by bacteria (borrelia burgdorferi) that deer ticks spread. Typically, the infection happens when a tick is allowed to feed for a few days; that’s when the bacteria is transferred. This leads to infections, the signs of which may not be obvious. Symptoms usually include:

Joint Inflammation

Lameness and Stiffness

Breathing Problems

Appetite Loss

Lethargy

Kidney Problems or Failure (Severe Cases)

Heart Disease (Rare)

If left untreated, things can turn deadly for your pet. First, it has to be diagnosed. To do this, your vet will have to thoroughly examine the animal. Search for ticks and signs that they’ve been feeding. If symptoms have appeared, the vet will have to go over your pet’s history, including when and where ticks might have been present. There will likely be blood tests, urinalyses, fecal tests, possibly X-rays, and more.

Because joint problems are the most common symptoms, your vet will need to make sure that it’s not arthritis, rather than Lyme Disease. Treatment includes antibiotics, or stronger treatments if your pet has a more severe case. Lyme Disease can be tough to cure, so it’s important to remain aware of the possibility, particularly if you have an outdoor dog.

Pets and Lyme Disease is a serious concern. Come to us at Pet Vet Hospitals and let us help you prevent this all-too-common problem.

On the Road with Your Pet

By | Pet Care | No Comments

Whether you travel on vacation, you move to a new home, or get on the road for any other reason, you may find yourself taking your pet on the road. It’s less common to take cats on vacation because they don’t often travel well, but many people take their dogs wherever they go. No matter what pet you take, traveling with a pet can be both fun and trying.

Keeping Calm

An important part of traveling with a pet is keeping it cadog-237187_1280lm. Some pets get situated easily and can be distracted with treats and toys. Others need some help. It may require some hands-on soothing. Or, some natural soothers found at your local pet store may help. You can certainly talk to your vet about sedation if you feel it necessary. However, never try to sedate your pet without talking to your vet.

Safety

Keeping your pet safe in the car is also paramount. Restrain your dog with appropriate accouterments. There are devices made specifically for this that you can purchase. Keep your dog’s head out of the window at all times. For cats, it’s best to keep them confined to their carriers. Make sure they have enough room to move, turn, and be comfortable.

Taking Breaks

Your pets need breaks from the car. They need to stretch their legs, get some air, and relieve themselves, just like you. So, plan to take a few extra breaks on your way. Find a good rest stop with some open space. Keep your pet on a leash when you take him or her out. Show your cat the litter box and give him or her a chance to use it. Offer your pets water, too; travel can sometimes bring on dehydration, particularly if your pet gets motion sickness.

If you need more advice for going on the road with your pet, come see us at Pet Vet Hospitals.

Pet Boarding

By | Pet Care | No Comments

dogs people connection adoptionAs much as we would like it, sometimes it’s just not feasible to take our pets with us. They may not travel well, they may not be welcome at the destination, etc. So, finding suitable pet boarding is something that every pet owner should do in order to be prepared for those times when pets cannot go on the trip.

When it comes to cats, it is usually best not to take them with you on a trip unless you’re forced to because you’re moving, or some other necessary reason. In fact, it’s also better not to board a cat; if you can leave your cat at home and have someone come to visit every day, that is best. Cats often do not react well to being removed from their comfortable, familiar environment for a lengthy period of time.

Dogs are better travelers. Many people take dogs on trips, even long ones. However, when it’s simply not possible, a good boarding system is a must. Your dog should receive the best care—exercise and playtime, regular potty breaks, a comfortable, clean space, food, water, etc. The same can be said for cat boarding. If you must board your cat, you want to make sure he or she is getting the very best attention.

Veterinary clinics often offer more than medical services. Sometimes, they also offer pet grooming, daycare, and boarding. So, if you have a vet whom you trust, start there. Ask about potential boarding services. If your vet does not offer them, then the next best thing to do would be to ask your vet’s opinion on other options. She or he probably knows of good boarding in your area.

It’s also great to ask other pet owners whom you know and trust. Online searches and reviews are an essential part of searching for businesses, now. Ultimately, you’re looking for a place that will not only board your pet, but that is trustworthy and will give more than basic care for your animal. It’s hard to leave a pet behind, sometimes. You want it to get the same care you give and it can be worrisome, wondering if they’re okay.

When you need vet care, call us at Pet Vet Hospitals. We can provide and recommend the best.